A poorly conceived approach to website navigation will ultimately confuse and frustrate users, which is obviously bad news for business. The biggest challenge when putting together a website's navigation is finding a way to avoid using a lot of links.
Although more links may be added as the site is further developed, keeping it simple is truly the way to go. On the other hand, websites can also outgrow their initial navigation plan and a redesign may be in order.
One of the easiest ways to promote user-friendly navigation is through the use of color coding. A wesbite's navigation should be easily distinguished and separated from the site's content. If everything seems mixed together it will look a messy and confuse readers.
Next, businesses should avoid an overload of internal links. If the number of links offered on the site cannot be diminished, use multiple navigation bars, separated into logical groups.
For example, core links such as the site's home page, blog, and about us links can be placed at the top; functional links such as a user dashboard, account history, and user settings can be placed down the side; and legal or privacy links can be placed along the bottom. This will keep the website looking neat and make it easier for users to find the links that they need.
Other ways to offer user-friendly navigation is by using icons or graphical aids to bring a website's navigation bar to life, being consistent with all of the navigation areas of a website, and being sure to separate all non-navigational content.
Most importantly, the website design must be flexible enough so that additional navigation links can be added in the future. Where possible, a website should be future-proofed to ensure a fluid design now and as the business grows.
Copyright 2010 dzine it, inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.